Nashville set to approve $75m subsidy today for MLS stadium

The Nashville Metro Council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted 10-3 last night to approve $225 million in public bonds for a new soccer stadium, which is probably a good sign that the full council will approve the bonds today.

As the Tennessean keeps reporting in all its coverage, the bonds would cost $13 million a year to pay off, and the Nashville S.C. proposed MLS expansion team would pay off $9 million of that, leaving the public on the hook for $4 million a year. About 80 percent of that would be paid off via sales-tax kickbacks, amounting to about $50 million worth of public subsidy in present-value terms; the city would also put up $25 million in additional general obligation bonds that it would pay off itself, so that’s a total taxpayer cost of $75 million. Plus 18 acres of free land for both the stadium and surrounding development, which I haven’t seen a price tag on.

Is that worth it to land an MLS team? Almost certainly not in economic impact terms; in “We’re gonna be major-league, wait, what do you mean the Tennessee Titans play here, we hadn’t noticed” terms, also almost certainly not, but it depends how much you dig Major League Soccer.

Anyway, like it or not, it looks like Nashville will be getting a new publicly subsidized soccer stadium, which should push it to be one of the frontrunners to land an expansion franchise either this year or next. That’d leave three more slots for all the other contenders, at least until MLS decides to sell a few more franchises to raise some quick cash.

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One comment on “Nashville set to approve $75m subsidy today for MLS stadium

  1. The potential kink in this plan is a Metro Charter amendment that was passed a few years ago that requires the Fairgrounds to be used for specific purposes (i.e. auto racing on the track, flea market, state fair are a few). Any deviation from that requires a 2/3 vote of the council, which may not be possible.

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